Refried beans are a popular Mexican and Tex-Mex dish made from cooked and mashed beans. Despite the name, “refried” beans are not actually fried twice. The term “refried” (or “re-fried”) comes from the Spanish word “refritos,” which means “well-fried” or “re-fried” in English.
Refried beans are commonly served as a side dish with various Mexican and Tex-Mex meals. They are often used as a filling in tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, or as a topping for nachos and tostadas. They can also be enjoyed on their own as a flavorful and protein-rich vegetarian dish.
2 cups cooked pinto or black beans (or canned beans, drained and rinsed)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or lard
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
Salt to taste
Water (as needed)
- Heat the oil or lard in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the pan and sauté until they become soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the ground cumin and chili powder (if using), and cook for an additional minute to release their flavors.
- Add the cooked beans to the pan and mash them using a potato masher or the back of a spoon. You can mash them coarsely for a chunky texture or mash them more finely for a smoother consistency.
- Stir the mashed beans into the onion and garlic mixture, and continue to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- If the mixture appears too dry, you can add a little water, a tablespoon at a time, to achieve your desired consistency. Keep in mind that the beans will thicken slightly as they cool.
- Season with salt to taste and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the beans are heated through and have reached the desired thickness, remove the pan from heat.
- Serve the refried beans as a side dish or as a filling for tacos, burritos, or enchiladas.